Web Development – Five Tips for Picking a Great Domain Name

So you’re about to start a website for your brand new (or existing) business, so what are the first steps you have to take? Why registering a domain name for your website of course! However, this isn’t always as easily said as done. Doing all the right things with your website is crucial to ensuring that your small business succeeds in our rapidly growing online-based commerce hub. So what can you do to make sure your domain sticks out from the pack? Read on to find out.


1. Use a .com TLD

There are a number of TLDs (top level domains) out there; if you’re unfamiliar, these are the “suffixes” that are at the end of your URL, for example: .com, .net, .org, .edu, .co.uk, etc. When you register a domain you initially only choose one of these. Though you may be tempted otherwise, in nearly every scenario you should opt for a .com TLD. Why? Well, .com has essentially become the de facto standard for TLDs across the web. Though it initially started as a TLD for commerce based websites, the .com TLD has since opened up to everyone and is used by TLDs for government websites, nonprofits, and even people’s personal websites or blogs. Also, consider a scenario in which your customers are describing your website (www.coolwebsite.org) to a friend. They might say something like, “You should visit CoolWebsite’s website, it’s super awesome!” In most scenarios, given no specific details, their friend will go to coolwebsite.com, as it’s simply the de facto standard for website TLDs. Thus, in this scenario, a non-.com TLD will actually be drawing attention away from you and to your competitors. As a result, you should almost always select a .com domain when available, even (and especially) when the .com domain is taken by your competitors.


2. Keep It Short

The golden rule of domain design is to keep it short and memorable. Though it may seem appealing to be very specific in your domain name choice, it rarely works out in practice. In general, it is much easier to type a short, memorable domain than a long one with many words. For example, would you rather type “Richardsverycoolpersonalwebsite.com” or “Richard.com”? Unless you’re in the very small minority, the latter is much more appealing. Likewise, the shorter your URL name, the less likely visitors are to make mistakes when typing it out or to misspell a word. If your visitors can’t reach your site in the first place, then you’ve already lost a customer before they’ve even seen what you have to offer.


3. Don’t Pick Complicated Words

In a similar vein to number 2, you should stay far away from complicated words that might be difficult for visitors and potential consumers to spell (or even know in the first place). For example, in the field of dentistry there are many disorders that stem from the temporomandibular joint (or “TMJ” for short). If you were to start a website discussing this condition though, you probably would want to stay away from a hard-to-spell domain such as “www.temporomandibularsurgeon.com” and try something similar, but much more simple such as “www.tmjsurgeon.com.” By doing this you’re more likely to have web visitors find your site and not go somewhere with an easier domain name.


4. In General, Avoid Hyphens

One amateur mistake that many people make when selecting a domain name is choosing to use hyphens in their domain name. Though inherently there is nothing wrong with using hyphens in a site’s domain, it suffers similar problems to the “coolwebsite.com,” issue discussed earlier; in conversation one person might be talking about cool-website.com, while the other is referring to coolwebsite.com. Because word-of-mouth can often be very important for small businesses, this can pose you a lot of trouble, as most people will assume your website is non-hyphenated. Likewise, some people avoid hyphenated websites because it is often perceived as being an indicator of spammy websites. That being said, some people do believe that hyphens help search engines separate words from one another and aid in keyword identification, but only the search engineers at those sites know for sure. To be on the safe side, we encourage you to avoid their usage if you can.


5. Make Your Domain Keyword-Rich & Appealing to Type-in Traffic

Picking the right domain name can be very simple, but a lot of people overthink it. One of the best things you can do is to simply make your domain keyword-rich and easily accessed by type-in traffic. For a keyword rich domain name, you simply need to incorporate keywords that are applicable to your domain. For example, if you sell cars, you’d probably want to incorporate “car” or “cars” into your domain name. This often goes hand in hand with encouraging type-in traffic. Type-in traffic is when a web browser types in what they’re searching for and adds .com or another TLD to the end. For example, austindentist.com would be a great attractor of type-in traffic. Furthermore, it contains two important keywords: the location and the service your business offers. If you maintain a keyword-rich and type-in friendly domain name, you’ll be easily discoverable by both search engines and consumers alike.


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Jurgita Glodenyte


Jurgita Glodenyte

Jurgita Glodenyte is an online/digital & social media marketer, manager, strategist, consultant, trainer and public speaker. Her goal is to give companies she works with the tools to make them successful in a technology based economy. Jurgita has written a few books on digital marketing & social media.
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